An Abscess is an infected area that results in the creation of pus growing and enlarging ( like a balloon) until the point that it ruptures. You can think of this in many ways like you would a large boil or pimple. They can be large and small in size – with large being easily the size of a golf ball. Depending on what is the source of the infection antibiotics may also be required.
Typically abscesses develop relatively quickly to such a degree that they can be enormous and yet, only days before nothing existed.
There are many suggestions as to why abscesses form, but the fundamental issue is that infection is present. They can occur through injuries to the skin – such as being barbed by a grass seed or a scratch/bite from another guinea pig. One reason to avoid straw, is that it is particularly hard and if a guinea pig does run into it, it may break the skin whereby it becomes prone to infection.
Abscesses are always contained within a circular area or pocket. Usually you can palpate ( feel) this area and it is like a soft ball of fluid. As the abscess forms in one area the skin becomes stretched and enlarged, it becomes more like a hard ball ready to burst as the infected fluid (pus) has built up.
As this usually occurs quickly, the guinea pig will be bothered by this and start to ‘nibble’ or ‘scratch’ at the area. Hair will start to thin at the location they nibble/scratch and this is the point it will rupture through if left to break open.
If the abscess does burst, you will no-longer see the raised area but instead a hole. The piggie will usually clean this up. The small of an abscess you will long remember.
Abscesses should always be treated and cleaned. They heal from the inside out, and can’t do this if there is still infected fluid contained inside. The hole does not need to be closed, as this is the way that an excess infected material can leave.
It is important that the area around the abscess be kept clean and clear of hair or any debri that can get stuck to that area.
The actual abscess needs to be cleaned and I recommend a neat solution of debrisol which is a fabulous wound healing solution for guinea pigs and in particular abscesses. This can be syringed directly into the abscess and swished about and then express removed.
Abscesses do occur on guinea pigs and in different locations. Depending on the position on the body of a guinea pig will determine if the severity on the health of the guinea pig. Certainly anywhere on throat and abdomen, and head, there are issues with breathing and vital organs that need to be considered carefully. Please contact your vet for full direction in the care of these.
Watch the following videos that will show you how we treat and care for many that come into rescue: CLICK HERE